WASHINGTON, D.C. – Chief executives from five of the leading steel companies in the U.S. told members of the Congressional Steel Caucus today that unfair foreign trade practices have caused an increase in steel imports resulting in the loss of more than 13,000 lost jobs in the industry this year, and the government needs to dramatically improve policies on trade. The Steel Caucus is chaired by Tim Murphy (R-PA) and vice-chaired by Rep. Pete Visclosky (D-IN).
As members of the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), Mario Longhi, President and CEO of United States Steel Corporation; Chad Utermark, Executive Vice President of Nucor Corporation; Jim Baske, CEO of ArcelorMittal North America; Chuck Schmitt, President, of SSAB Americas and Chairman of AISI; and, Roger Newport, CEO of AK Steel Corporation, testified before the more than two dozen members of Congress. Copies of the testimonies and the video broadcast of the hearing can be found here.
Longhi said, “The American people – and this caucus – have declared that we must not rely on competitors or adversaries for vital elements of our national security. I contend that no element is more vital and fundamental than steel. The time for speculation and hand wringing has passed. We must now come together. Democrats and Republicans … government and the private sector … management and labor. We must join forces to preserve and defend our way of life by ensuring American industries can complete vigorously and unencumbered by harmful foreign practices.”
Utermark said, “From outright government ownership to a vast array of illegal subsidies, many foreign steel companies are shielded from the realities of the market. China is the prime example. Basically, the Chinese government is a company disguised as a country engaged in economic warfare. It is the major contributor to the capacity glut. China’s economic slowdown, coupled with its estimated 425 million tons of excess capacity, has resulted in China flooding the global market with steel exports. This market-distorting behavior is creating real harm for American steelworkers.”
Baske said, “The American Steel Industry, as we see it today, is not sustainable, under the current conditions. However, we compete against governments around the world which support an industrial strategy of exporting excess steel, leading to record levels of imports into the United States. We need the U.S. Government to vigorously enforce U.S. trade remedy laws. And we need the international community to come together to make clear to China that they need to reduce their excess capacity in steel making – the way a market-based economy would – rather than exporting it.”
Schmitt said, “Our industry recently commissioned a survey of registered voters throughout the country to measure public concern about the steel industry’s plight and to assess recommendations for action. The results of that poll confirm clear support for our shared mission here today…. According to 82% of voters, the loss of U.S. manufacturing jobs overseas and the damage to the American steel industry due to unfair foreign imports are very important issues facing our country. Many presidential candidates are also realizing that global overcapacity of steel -- in part due to massive subsidization by foreign governments -- is a huge problem and a chief contributor to the crisis we face in the American steel industry.”
Newport said, “…I have been in the steel industry for 31 years, and I have never seen the conditions in the marketplace that we have experienced over the last two years. The U.S. government should strictly and thoroughly enforce our existing trade laws. It’s that simple – enforce the law. [And] the U.S. government should continue to treat China as a non-market economy for the purpose of the anti-dumping law. The U.S. government [also] needs to recognize that in many instances, trade relief on China alone will not be sufficient to address the problem of global overcapacity. Without effective action, the overcapacity in the market simply causes other countries to increase their exports to the U.S.”
Leo Gerard, International President of United Steelworkers (USW); Tracy Porter, President of CMC Americas; Robert Mandel, President of Welded Tube; and, Dennis Oates, President and CEO of Universal Stainless and Alloy Products also testified.
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AISI serves as the voice of the North American steel industry in the public policy arena and advances the case for steel in the marketplace as the preferred material of choice. AISI also plays a lead role in the development and application of new steels and steelmaking technology. AISI is comprised of 19 member companies, including integrated and electric furnace steelmakers, and approximately 120 associate members who are suppliers to or customers of the steel industry. For more news about steel and its applications, view AISI's website at www.steel.org. Follow AISI on Facebook or Twitter (@AISISteel).